Mission-Critical Application Virtualization Resistance Is Futile

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The Tier 1 Application Virtualization Outlook

Mission-critical apps may finally be gaining ground.

There's a lot of debate within IT organizations over the merits of deploying Tier 1 mission-critical application on virtual servers.

A survey of 109 IT professionals released this week by AppDynamics, a provider of application performance management software, found that while 80 percent of them had deployed virtual machine software on their servers, only 14 percent had done so using mission-critical applications.

Mission-critical applications are the last frontier for virtualization. But getting owners of mission-critical applications to sign up for virtualization has been a very tough sell. The AppDynamics survey did show the beginning of a thaw in virtualization resistance among owners of mission-critcal applications. But what's most intriguing about this survey is that it indicates that even after two years of marketing efforts from companies such as VMware, most application owners are still unaware that their applications will most likely run faster on modern virtual machine infrastructure than they do natively on legacy operating systems.

Steve Roop, vice president of marketing, says the best thing that IT people responsible for virtualization can do to allay the fears of owners of mission-critical applications is to routinely show application owners performance reports. That may be easier said than done, however, because most IT organizations have one set of tools that show application performance and another set of tools for tracking virtual machine performance.

The challenge, said Root, is getting customers to buy into the idea that they need new tools that can easily correlate application performance with the virtual machine infrastructure it runs on.

Until that happens, said Root, virtualization will be viewed with suspicion by application owners that don't want to tinker with anything that might affect performance, no matter how much money can be saved on physical servers, which in many cases application owners see as a relatively low cost of doing business. It's only when the costs of acquiring and operating all those physical servers are tallied that the real savings from virtualization becomes apparent. The trick is making the cost of all those physical servers apparent to the owners of the applications that run on them.